For Mission BBQ co-founder Bill Kraus, the restaurant's patriotic overtones are personal.
"My oldest son is a Marine and my other son is Naval Academy bound. We have the easy job. We make food and say 'thank you.' They go off and protect, serve and save our freedoms," Kraus said.
He and co-founder Steve Newton held the grand opening celebration for their second restaurant at the Festival at Perry Hall Shopping Center at 4132 East Joppa Rd. on Monday. Their first restaurant opened in Glen Burnie last year. Gaining immediate popularity, Baltimore Magazine named it the best barbecue in Baltimore.
During a soft launch last week, the restaurant hosted Baltimore County police and firefighters, raising more than $2,500 to benefit the departments. On Monday, following a ribbon cutting and singing of the National Anthem, all of the proceeds supported the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists soldiers in their emotional and physical recoveries. A portion of specialty cup sales also benefit the organization on a daily basis.
Support for the Wounded Warrior Project brought members of the Maryland Army National Guard of the CW4 Melvin Sherr Armory in Parkville to the restaurant's opening.
"Having been deployed a few times, I have a number of friends who have benefited from the Wounded Warrior Project. A lot of businesses pay lip service, but they actually back up what they're saying," said Staff Sgt. Jeff Sullens.
State Del. Eric Bromwell said he expects ongoing community support for the new barbecue joint.
"It brings jobs to Perry Hall, fills the vacant space left by Blockbuster and it's in my backyard, which is great for me. But also, the mission of this company is all about those who serve—firefighters, police officers, members of the military. It's unparalleled. I've never seen a business model like that before," Bromwell said.
See the photo gallery for shots inside the new business. Share your restaurant review in the comments.